How to: Restore & Upholster Old Furniture
Following on from our previous post, we're going to look at how to restore and upholster old furniture to create that Country Restored feel, it's a great way to save money whilst keeping with the trends. Just to make things a little easier, we'll guide you through the process with a little help from Emma, whose home we featured yesterday.
Restoring Painted Wood
If your furniture has layers upon layers of paint and varnish then be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to the restoration process, basically the more layers the longer it will take. In Emma's case, her side cupboard had many many layers of paint. “I loved the actual cupboard but wanted to strip it back to it’s original state, I thought the rococo style curves and the glass knobs were lovely and really wanted to show off the character of the cupboard.” Emma explains.
Safety Tips: Before starting, make sure the room is fully ventilated and read all the instructions on any chemicals you are using.
To start with, clear the area, pop your gloves on, then layer all the painted surfaces with the paint stripper using a brush. You will notice the surface start to bubble, this is the chemical reaction between the paint and the stripper. Wait for around 10 to 15 minutes for the reaction to complete.
Once you feel the paint is loose enough, use a stripping knife and begin to scrape away the paint, it's best to scrape gently over the top layer so to not damage the wood underneath and try and scrape with the natural grain of the wood. Use the empty paint can or metal container to collect any excess paint. If you find that there is another layer of paint underneath then you will have to do the whole process again, in Emma's case there were 3 layers of paint.
Once all the paint has been scrapped off, wipe away any excess with a wool cloth, make sure to work right into any groves and corners. This prevents any stripped paint drying onto the wood. For a more rustic finish keep areas of the old paint visible, Emma chose to keep parts of the paint showing to create a shabby chic effect.
Once all the old paint has been removed, using either a piece of sandpaper or for larger pieces an electrical sander will be needed, sand over all the surfaces. Make sure to sand in the same direction as the wood grain. Last but not least is the finish, this is optional, for a rustic shabby look just wipe off the excess powder - Emma chose to not use any varnish or stain on the wood. "I wanted to keep the wood as natural as possible and I also felt it complimented the rest of the room," Emma explains. If you decide you want a glossy varnished finish use a brush and gently layer the wood in the direction of the grain.
Restoring Varnished Wood
If you have a piece of furniture that is already heavily varnished and you want to restore it to a more natural shabby finish we recommend you use an electrical sander, for corners and hard to reach areas it will be easier to use sandpaper. For Emma's French dresser, she sanded the surface and then applied a shabby paint from the 1829 paint range.
Upholstering a dining room Chair
To freshen up old dining chairs why not change the pattern of the seat cover!? It's a quick and easy way to update the look of your home, there are some amazing prints and patterns available to add that pop of colour.
First of all, remove the seat pad and pull off the original fabric, the old fabric might be attached with staples so carefully use staple pliers to remove. Lay the seat pad face down onto the lining fabric and pull tightly, fold the fabric over the corners of the frame first and firmly staple, make sure you are pulling the fabric tautly. Once all corners are stapled, start at the centre of each length of the pad and tightly pull the fabric over the frame, staple centre to corner along the frame of the pad.
With your scissors, trim the excess lining fabric as close to the staple line as possible without the lining coming away. You can now repeat the process with your chosen fabric, remember if you have chosen a heavily patterned piece then make sure you place the seat pad face down onto the desired section.
Place seat pad back into the chair frame, use a screwdriver if needs be.